22 Must-Have Chrome Extensions for Productivity (I Think)
Sure, I’m probably bad at coming up with catchy titles, but the following Google Chrome extensions I’ll be sharing with you are going to change and improve the way you’re able to do things around the web – may it be at work or just merry-browsing cat pictures (pow! right in the productivity).
While gathering ideas for a write-up about productivity, I found this post about Chrome extensions for link builders by Jon Cooper (his blog is a link building treasure cove by the way – check it out!). He made a great roundup of extensions, and some of it I just knew since I stumbled on that post. There are some though that I’ve been using but are not listed there. Since this is my online journal, I decided I might as well create a list of my own – not just for work purposes, but how I function around the web in general.
These are all multiple URL openers, simply defined, but each has a feature different and/or not found on the other two.
I’ve been using Pasty since discovering it while looking for a simple multiple link opener. If you’re like me who keeps a lot of windows open (Notepad++, Excel, Google Docs, etc.) at a time while working, and tends to cross-copy-and-paste data between applications (think Excel to browser), Pasty is a necessity. To use it, just highlight and copy the group of URLs you’d like to open at the same time (works even when you’re outside the browser like on Excel, Word, or a simple text editor) and then click on the Pasty extension button to open all those up in separate tabs.
The downside of Pasty though is that it can’t detect incomplete URL formats (e.g. without the “http://”). This is where A HREF++ excels at. Simply highlight the group of links, right-click and then select A HREF++ in the menu. I have also noticed that the URLs still have to start with a “www.” for this extension to work, otherwise it just won’t open the link up.
But what if the link is anchored to a text or an image?
It’s Linkclump to the rescue. Simply press and hold the right mouse button while dragging it around the anchor elements, highlighting them, and then releasing it.
Depending on how you go about your everyday tasks, you might find using just one or two of them enough, or if you’re like me, just have the three ready by your side.
I have a lot of online accounts, and sometimes trying to remember what password I use for each is like trying to recall the name of your seatmate in 6th grade. Luckily, there’s 1Password to deal with forgetfulness. It is offered in both free and paid versions. The browser extension actually works in sync with a local installation on your machine as well as with installations on other platforms that you’ve connected through your account. It’s currently available for Windows, OS X, iOs, and Android. Well, a few seconds saved from normally typing your unguessable password is a few seconds back into your life.
Evernote is another extension-software combo that allows you to save or archive documents, web pages, images, and other sorts of file attachments, and everything’s synced across all devices you’ve connected through your own Evernote account. I personally use this as a bookmarker and a to-do lists organizer. To learn more about this amazing tool, read Joe Brockmeier’s post on tips for using Evernote effectively.
This nifty Google Chrome extension allows you to take a screenshot (an area you can define on the page you’re on, the whole currently viewable area, or the whole page itself), then automatically uploads the image to imgur.com (and saves it to your imgur account if you have one though not necessary), and provides you with a URL to the image. Excellent for quickly sharing screenshots with others.
(7) Insert Text
As Jon said, if there’s a snippet of text you’re using repeatedly, this extension will save you a good amount of time. Simply right-click inside the the input box of the form you’re filling up, choose “Insert Text”, and then choose the specific text block you’ve defined and saved earlier inside the extension’s options panel. Also great for automatically inserting pre-configured email opening/farewell compliments.
(8) Word Count
I’m not sure how you’ll be using this in some other ways, but I’m likely using it similar to Jon’s strategy (work-related). Just highlight the block of text on the page and click on the extension button to know the number of words and characters currently selected. Word Count is also useful when you’re filling up those web forms that have set character limits for inputs but doesn’t distinctly show you the current number of characters you’ve typed in.
The following two Chrome extensions are just gloriously awesome. If you’re a Gmail user (why, if you’re not, you should be – trust me!), these extensions will make your life better you probably can have a dog as a pet right after or grow tomatoes on your backyard.
After installing it on your browser and setting it up with your Gmail account, something similar to an author box appears on the right side of your screen every time you’re composing a new message or writing a reply. Rapportive detects the recipient’s email address and gathers data from around the web including social profiles and then returns those results to you. Sometimes, a Twitter mention seems to have a higher chance of getting a reply than an email, right?
Another Google Chrome extension that integrates with the Gmail app, Boomerang allows you to send an email at a designated time (send later) or back to your inbox (e.g. if the recipient doesn’t reply in a day or two).
I suggest you check out John Doherty‘s post about Gmail productivity setup for link builders (even if you’re not a link builder) at the SEOmoz blog to know more about these must-have extensions. Great, great tips on being a Gmail ninja from John!
Some say notifications are counterproductive. Instead of keeping your focus on completing a particular task, those little conspicuous numbers scream at you “hey, it appears you’re very busy, but click me!”. The following are exceptions though.
It’s basically a mail notifier for Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and other web mail services (though I’m more of a pure Google user). X-notifier is great if you’re a hustler – always making sure that every task gets acted upon as soon as you receive it. Imagine an urgent email from your superior or a colleague. Also really advantageous when you’re just waiting for a reply from someone and quite an essential if you have multiple email accounts.
I usually just turn the number of unread posts notification off while working. But when it’s reading/free time, I have the number of unreads on the Google Reader Checker on as I always make sure I’m able to squeeze into my head as much as I could read. Also great when you just want to catch up on the latest buzz, and hey, life’s easier when things are just a click away.
Not everyone may be using the following extensions, but for people in the same field as I am, these are necessities.
(13) SEOmoz Mozbar
Aside from the overlay feature this extension integrates into the SERPs, the array of functionalities this tool offers (instant page analysis, link type highlighting, IP address and country information, and quick links to other tools for deeper analysis) makes it indispensible. Though, as I would recommend being a PRO member gives you invaluable perks, the free version of the Mozbar has features good enough for those who are just starting out.
(14) Domain Hunter Plus
I knew about this extension when Jon shared about it on one of his blog post calling it the next generation checker. While he clearly outlined how to use this exceptional tool to check on dead links, get further information about the domains (also making it easier to get the domain registered in the process) as well as the export to CSV feature, it lacks the ability to directly show the user which of the links on the page contains the dead URL unless of course if the URLs aren’t anchored to a text string or an image and are written as is. Well, I may have missed or really don’t know if Domain Hunter Plus has that feature, but as far as I know it doesn’t. Nevertheless, this tool is a keeper and a combo with the next one makes both an integral part of an uber broken link building arsenal.
(15) Check My Links
What Domain Hunter Plus lacks in visual identification of dead links, Check My Links makes up for. Jon again (I told you to check out his blog) generously shares about this great Chrome extension on his post at the SEOmoz blog with bonus tactics you can readily follow and assimilate into your current link building strategy.
Although the Mozbar has this link highlighting feature already, I find Nofollow does a better and cleaner job at the task. I could just leave it on without it being visually obtrusive as the dotted lines look more cordial to me than the colorful highlights the Mozbar creates that often times moves on-page objects around by a few pixels. How is this useful? Well, if you’re going around sites checking for opportunities on pages your site could get listed, nofollowed links becomes a decision factor.
I knew about this extension on Justin Briggs‘ blog post about quick link prospecting using it. Though it requires a quick lesson about the basics of using XPath, the Scraper significantly turns the SERPs into a link builder’s bountiful sea of links.
(18) Firebug Lite
I started using this extension when I got hooked on learning how to create WordPress child themes. Though not as feature-packed as its Firefox ancestor-counterpart, Firebug Lite has all the required functionality I exactly needed in tweaking website layouts and learning about how other sites are structured inside-out.
Both are URL shorteners but one does something the other can’t (as far as I know). With bitly, you can add notes to the URL you just shortened and
bookmark “bitmark” it. I’m not sure if goo.gl can do the same.
(21) Google Dictionary
With this Google Chrome extension, you can view definitions easily as you browse the web. Double-click any word (while pressing a trigger key like Alt if you’ve set it to that to avoid conflict with other keyboard/mouse functionalities) to view its definition in a small pop-up bubble. You can also query the complete definition of any word or phrase using the toolbar dictionary. Being a non-native English speaker, the Google Dictionary comes in very handy for me. I cannot fathom not being able to comprehend what others say. Fathom. It sounds cool. It’s like…Gotham. Okay, it’s not. But see, it’s useful for me.
(22) Adblock Plus (Beta)
Before I started studying in this field, I used to turn this extension on all the time. It was when I began reading about PPC, on-page optimization and affiliate advertising that I just rarely use this. I had to understand how paid ads work (particularly in the SERPs), how people use and perceive them, how it affects the overall appeal of a page (like those sites within the Google Display Network), among other things that involves online advertising. If you don’t care about those though and are just sick of the popup and sliding ads on sites you frequently visit, you’ll love AdBlock Plus. I understand, you’re clearly not the 1,000,000th visitor who just won a gazillion dollars.
Do you know of better ones that can possibly substitute what I already have in my list? Is there another great Chrome extension you think I should check out? Do you think I’ve been using any of the extensions incorrectly? It would be great if you could tell me about it in the comments section below.
No matter how good the tools you use, success will always depend on self-discipline and good time management skills. Just get things done. The cats can wait.
- 16 Chrome Extensions for Link Builders
- 10 Tips for Using Evernote Effectively
- A Linkbuilder’s Gmail Productivity Setup (with Outreach Emails from 4 Industry Linkbuilders)
- Domain Hunter Plus – Next Generation Link Checker
- Check My Links Chrome Extension – A Link Builder’s Dream
- Quick Link Prospecting with Scraper Extension